Heartbreaking, Raw, Beautiful
Sep 17, 2012 by Ken Wheaton
This link will take you to video of comedian Anthony Griffith telling the story of his life as a comedian and his daughter's battle with cancer. Some profanity toward the end. And you will cry.
To Infinity and Beyond, Etc!
Jul 12, 2012 by Ken Wheaton
At 7:34 last night, I reached my fundraising goal for Team in Training thanks to an extremely generous donation from Stephane Clare, aka The Real Dawn Summers. She just turned 25 again and must have gotten a lot of birthday money -- as well as one of the best birthday presents a New England Patriots and Tom Brady fan could ever get (short of a chance to vanquish Giselle in a duel and then win his hand in marriage.) Seriously, go read her birthday post to see what she got for her birthday. Even if--as a rational human being--you despise Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, you'll find the post funny and touching.
So yes, I reached the goal of $2,350 on the nose.
But meeting some arbitrary goal is not what's important here.
No, what's important is that my coworker Natalie is beating me like a red-headed stepchild* in terms of fundraising. And, sorry, but this cannot stand. So you all need to break out your wallets, email your friends, scrounge through your car seats and couch cushions and come up with -- wait, let me check her page -- $717. THAT's what's important!
Wait! What? No. That's not what's important. Of course not. The money we raise via TNT funds important work done by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
I know that might seem vague. Perhaps you visualize the money just being scraped into a big pile and spent on purple shirts and running coaches and perhaps some flowers and toys for sick children and adults. No. LLS doesn't fuck around. The money is used to BEAT cancer. Literally. Consider these specifics:
"Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $814 million in blood cancer research. We fund more blood cancer research than all other voluntary health agencies.
An LLS-funded researcher developed Gleevec, a pill for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). Now, more than 95 percent of newly diagnosed CML patients survive more than five years with a good quality of life. LLS was also instrumental in the development of Velcade, a targeted treatment approved for patients with multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma."
And that's because of people like you donating to the cause. So, if you've given, pat yourselves on the back. You deserve it.
If you haven't, go sit in the corner and think about what you haven't done. Then donate! If you like me, donate to my page. If I've offended you and you really want to get back at me, then donate to Natalie's page. That'll show me! Or donate to Maureen, who just signed up. Or Elisabeth, whose been busting her ass at practices and sometimes runs with a stroller full of babies (okay, two babies, but you push two babies in a stroller while running and tell me it's not FULL of babies). Or even my boss, Ad Age Editor Abbey Klaassen -- and if you attach a note to your donation suggesting I need a raise, I'm not going to hold that against you.
But don't donate to Shareen! I'm still ahead of her in fundraising and I'd like to keep it that way. I can live with second place, but third would just kill me. Okay. Fine. You can donate to Shareen. Or you can donate to the Crain Communications team page and spread the love around.
And thanks again!
*As always, no offense to red-heads, stepchildren or red-headed stepchildren.
Coach Kenny and the Case of Stomach Cramps
Jul 10, 2012 by Ken Wheaton
Sometimes the coach must do what the trainee needs, not what the coach wants. This morning the coach really, really wanted to stay in bed. But Cara's been struggling to get her motivation going AND she wanted to do hill runs in the park BUT runs at 5:30 and wasn't sure if it was safe to go alone before the sun was completely up. So Coach Kenny dragged his ass out of bed a full two hours before he typically does (hell, let's be honest: a full three and a half hours) to go running in the park.
Also, we have Book of Mormon tickets for this evening, so there was no way we could punk out and say, "Let's run tonight" (and then just get home after work and watch Big Bang Theory reruns and feel smug because hey, at least we don't run like Penny and Sheldon).
We took it slow there--a full mile. I explained the distance to her and the recovery period (it's a 400M up and then walk/jog back down). Pretty simple, but pretty gruesome if you're not used to it. Hell it can be gruesome if you are. We each did four. I was going to shoot for six, but my stomach was starting to cramp (a dinner of chicken fingers, potato skins, Smithwicks pints and a bottle of G2 just might be the culprits). So we called it a day and jogged back.
Bonus: We saw a Mama Raccoon and three babies crossing the park road. And then what may have been her not-so-bright fourth child kind of just tooling around in the bushes by himself.
The Progress Continues
Jul 08, 2012 by Ken Wheaton
"And now, against all odds, his cancer is in remission and has been since last fall."
The he in question is a doctor and a runner.
No More Tears!
Jul 02, 2012 by Ken Wheaton
Before most TNT Group Training Sessions, we have what is called a Mission Moment, when a runner stands before the group and tells everyone why he or she decided to join TNT, how his or her life was touched by leukemia or lymphoma. It's meant to reminds us of why we're really doing this, that it's more than a groovy purple shirt, some new friends and the ability to eat what we want without worrying. It's about raising money to fight cancer.
As you'd expect, a lot of these stories are heartbreakers -- friends, siblings, children getting the diagnosis, struggling to accept, suffering through treatment. Many make it. But too many don't.
As you'd also expect, sometimes before setting out on a group training run, we all have ourselves a good cry. Perhaps there should be a study to see if crying before a run helps or hurts. Emotionally, it is freeing in a way. But those tears hold some crucial salt!
This past weekend, one of the coaches stood up for the mission moment and my first reaction was, "Oh shit." I just had a feeling this was going to be a gut-wrencher. And I really like this coach. Well, I like all my coaches, of course, but this one talked me through some of the last miles of last year's Hampton's Half. She kept my mind off the fact that I wasn't going to make a good time and off the fact that I really wanted to quit, crap my pants due to cramping or both at the same time. (Now THAT would have been a Brightroom event photo I would have paid to see!)
So, coach starts talking. It was a few years back. She'd just finished a marathon. Phone call from her mom, who she figured was calling to congratulate her. Instead, her mom was relaying the news that grandma had cancer.
This is the point when about half the people at Group Training Session usually looks off into the trees or down at their shoes in an attempt to gird for the bad part of the story. The thought seems to be, "I'm gonna cry in public, but let's see if I can keep it to a trickle and not turn into a swollen-eyed snot monster."
And then coach says, "So, uh ... I'd like to introduce you to my grandmother. Who is here today."
If there's some sort of TNT Academy Award, Saturday's Mission Moment would have won both the technical categories and the creative ones. Best Plot Twist, Best Grandma in a Story, Most Efficient Telling of a Story, Best Resolution of a Story. And more.
Because there was grandma, looking spry and healthy. Cancer-free. And cancer-free thanks to a fairly new wonder drug that allowed her to skip the horrors of chemo or radiation or bone-marrow transplants and the like.
And do you, dear reader, no where the funding for such wonder drugs comes from? That's right! You!
So if you've donated, thank you. Thank you for making my Saturday morning a little more tear-free. And thank you, most importantly, for saving lives.